WEATHER: MAINLY CLOUDY
50th Super Bowl will be held in San Francisco soon! I hope the weather will be nice there on the game day.
I traveled to San Francisco over the weekend after my business trip to Los Angeles on Dec 2014. It was my 4th time to visit San Francisco but the last time I traveled to San Francisco was almost 20 years ago. I heard the city was changed a lot. San Francisco was only an hour away from Los Angeles and there were many flight options with nice fares. I decided to stop over San Francisco before going back to New York and see the changes, as well as visiting my old memory places.
RAINBOW IN THE SKY/SCENIC FLIGHT TO OAKLAND
The destination of my flight from Los Angeles was Oakland, across San Francisco, by Southwest Airlines. It was one of the smoothest takeoffs I’d ever experienced, took off less than 5 minutes after leaving from the gate. Southwest had a big locational advantage in LAX that the origin of runaway was just behind their terminal. After my airplane left the gate and turned around to the runway, it took off without waiting.
Enroute views were pretty fantastic. My airplane passed over Marina Del Ray soon after taking off, off the coast of Malibu, then proceeded to inland near Oxnard. Sky and ocean were blue and coastline was beautiful.
After passing over clouds for a short period, I discovered an interesting phenomenon around the wing. A rainbow in the sky! I had never caught the rainbow in the sky. The rainbow was almost 360 degrees from the mountain to beyond its arc over the wing. I thought the rainbow would disappear soon, but the rainbow kept moving with the plane. The rainbow stayed around the wing and drew a good harmony with rainbow colored winglet. I took a picture and noticed one thing with looking at the photo. The one of the purposes of the airline website addresses written on the winglets or engines could be “free” advertisement for the airlines by the posts on social media by passengers. Passengers love to post their outside photos taken from the airplanes, and many of their photos will have winglets or engines with the airline website addresses like my photo below. Their photos with the airlines’ web addresses will eventually appeal to passengers’ friends and family on social media. If I am correct, what a bright idea for the airlines!
The rainbow kept moving for roughly 30 minutes and finally disappeared when my airplane approached Oakland. I felt lucky to see the rainbow in the sky.
After arriving at Oakland Airport, I proceeded to Coliseum Station from just outside of the terminal by a new automated train operated by BART. I got another BART train heading to San Francisco from Coliseum Station, then I got off at the next station.
THE PLACES I VISITED IN SAN FRANCISCO
I got off the train at Fruitvale Station. I guess many people might be familiar with the name. This station became the title of my favorite movie in 2013, with the amazing performances by Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer. An innocent Black man, Oscar Grant III, was shot and killed by a police officer at that station on the New Year’s Day, 2009. I loved the film and wanted to pay tribute to Mr. Grant at the station.
Mr. Grant was shot on the opposite direction’s platform. I crossed over the stairs and moved to Fremont bound platform. There were just a few passengers on that side of the platform. There was no monument or sign of the shooting. Because I didn’t know the exact spot on the platform where he was shot, I went to the middle. I didn’t have time to buy flowers or gift so simply took a moment of silence there. I looked out from the platform window. Outside looked peaceful.
PUNX IN THE FRUITVALE/RANCID
When I got back to the San Francisco-bound platform, there were many young punk boys and girls waiting for the train. They ignited my next mood because that was exactly what I wanted to feel next. I love Rancid, a punk band from the Bay Area. My good friend introduced me Rancid in 1994, just before “Salvation” became a smash hit. Although both of us had the same roots from hard rock, the punk band made us attracted to their music instantly. Their second “Let’s Go” album had all exciting, powerful songs with full of energy. All songs were amazing, and there was no so-so song at all. That didn’t matter of their instrumental or vocal technique. That album was the art of punk. Unforgettable melodies were concentrated on the 44 minutes album with 23 songs. Especially after 6th song, “Let’s Go”, was fantastic. We could simply keep headbanging with the average of 1.5 minutes songs. Those songs didn’t have the unneeded part. Even though more than 20 years passed, I still listen “Let’s Go” album a lot. I feel gaining new and positive energy by listening to the album when I’m stressed and feel what the fuck.
Beside driving guitar riffs and Tim Armstrong’s cheerful and upbeat vocal, what made the band special was Matt Freeman’s heavy and stable bass play with great technique. Listen “Radio”. His bass work supports the song real tight from the bottom all the way. I definitely wanted to feel their music in the Bay Area that time. Last time I visited 20 years ago, I didn’t know about the band.
My self-excited Rancid experience started when the next BART train arrived. That was a Daly City Train…wow (“Daly City Train” was the title of a song on their third album, “…And Out Come the Wolves”). I began listening to their latest album, “….Honor Is All We Know”, released just a few months before, after sitting down on a seat. Its first song was “Back Where I Belong”. Yes, I was back to Bay Area! Although most of the band members were late 40’s (the drummer is 30’s), they still maintained unchanged power and edge with well-driven songs. Plus their performance improved a lot with the latest drummer. I couldn’t help but headbang inside of BART train. I knew a guy sit down next to me checked my iPhone and my face. Yeah, yeah, I know. I don’t seem like a punk dude.
BART train passed though “Union District” and reached out to my destination, Civic Center. When I got to the surface, that was “Tenderloin” district. Pretty much the world of Rancid’s lyrics! I enjoyed feeling Rancid maximum in the 30 minutes ride.
After checking in at my hotel in SoMa (South of Market) area, I went to ride the famous cable car. I initially planned to ride California Street Line from Embarcadero in Downtown because I remembered it was normally less crowded. However, I learned at Civic Center Station of MUNI train that the California Line wasn’t operating due to rail condition. I modified my plan to take from Powell and Market Streets, but they weren’t operating either due to the mechanical problems. We had to take a shuttle bus to Jackson Street, almost in the middle of the line and change to Powell-Hyde Line. The cable cars had many problems on that weekend.
I mainly rode California Line before, and Powell-Mason Line once at my first time of visiting San Francisco. It was my first time to ride Powell-Hyde Line. It was exciting! I had an opportunity to grab the pole and stood up on the step like other tourists.
I took the cable car to the last stop and enjoyed walking around the beach for a little while.
I walked on the marina to Fisherman’s Wharf from Aquatic Park. I was craving seafood for lunch. I looked into some restaurants, but none didn’t catch my interest. I saw many crabs at the restaurants, but my feeling was…”are they really fresh?”. Instead, I searched on Yelp and found “The Codmother Fish & Chips” on nearby Jones and Beach Streets. The outdoor food truck seemed popular. Yelp had many 4 and 5 stars with positive reviews, and there were many people making their orders when I went there. I ordered Fish, Shrimps & Chip. Their services were friendly and courteous. The fried fish was very big. The fish tasted nice on the start, but later…yikes! I felt too much oil in my mouth as I ate. Fried shrimps were good.
THE CODMOTHER FISH & CHIPS: No website
ADDRESS: 496 Beach Street, San Francisco, CA 941333
ALAMO SQUARE PARK
There was a park I really wanted to visit during the stay. That was Alamo Square Park, I saw the park many times in the movies and TV. Colorful Victorian houses on the row facing to the park, overviewing Downtown skylines…it was a popular photogenic spot.
Because I had not been in the park before, I decided to go to the park. I took 47 and 5 MUNI buses from Fisherman’s Wharf but took about 45 minutes with many stops en route even the distance wasn’t long.
I saw a gorgeous large house when I got off the bus at the nearby bus stop to the park, but I didn’t know it was “Mrs. Doubtfire” house at that time. I should take the picture! I loved that movie.
Alamo Square Park was worth to visit. I was very impressed when I saw the view I imagined in my eyes. Fortunately, the sky was getting clear and beautiful from the previous foggy sky, so I arrived at the perfect time (it rained later).
After my wish was fulfilled at Alamo Square Park, I went to several places I visited more than 20 years ago. I took a morning flight back to Los Angeles on next morning and made a connection to New York City.
As I previously wrote, I heard that San Francisco was changed a lot in the last 20 years from my friends and business partners. My opinion was nothing much changed. Union Square and Downtown were nothing much changed, clubs and nightlife in Castlo were pretty same, and those houses and apartments I visited were still there just as 20 years ago. The only place I felt notably changed was SoBe as I heard. It became cleaner.
I found two things changed in San Francisco. First, there were many more homeless people than 20 years ago, especially in Tenderloin district. Second, I saw some hippies. I didn’t see hippies that clearly 20 years ago. They were surprises for me because San Francisco was the hottest IT capital of the world, there should be many jobs and money. I thought San Francisco would probably be similar to today in another 10 or 20 years.
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